Too much alcohol on a regular basis won’t let you sleep

There is a study in which it was found that excessive alcohol intake reduces quality rest by up to 40%.

Photo: Photo by Elevate on Unsplash / Unsplash

There is nothing more irritating than feeling drowsy and lack of sleep in the morning, it is finally the time when we should have the most energy. The biggest problem comes when it becomes a chronic condition and we cannot identify why sleep is not so restful, although there are several factors that are related to the main sleep disorders Did you know that recurring alcohol consumption can be what keeps you awake at night? With this in mind, a team of specialists from Delamere set out to discover the effects of alcohol consumption on restorative quality of sleep. The findings were overwhelming.

First things first: by now we all know that Good sleep is just as important to good health as diet and exercise. However, ensuring a quality rest does not always depend on us and is related to other aspects of our daily lives such as worries, anxiety, depression, stress and work life. If we add to this the events of a global pandemic, it is easier to understand the reasons associated with the increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages and with altered sleep patterns.

How does alcohol affect the natural sleep cycle?

For years we have normalized the consumption of alcohol and even, it has been related as a good ally to sleep. The first thing we have to say is that without a doubt alcohol has a numbing effect and the main reason is that it causes brain activity to decrease, which can induce feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. This does not mean that it leads to a restful and quality rest.. It is no secret to say that consuming alcohol in excess can affect the quality of your sleep and cause negative effects, from headaches and dehydration to an increased need to urinate and body overheating.

While many things happen when we consume alcohol, the main thing is that the substance is absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach. The liver enzymes metabolize alcohol during the night, that is why during this process, alcohol will continue to circulate in the body, causing sleep interruptions and poor quality sleep.

Broadly speaking, excessive alcohol consumption implies consuming more than six units of alcohol, in a single session. Although this intake can initially put the body into a deep sleep, the problem is that the first two cycles of REM sleep are interrupted. We cannot forget that alcohol is a depressant, in such a way that the onset of sleep is usually shorter for people and in some cases they end up falling into a deep sleep faster than usual. This often creates an imbalance in the sleep cycle between slow wave sleep and REM sleep. and interrupts the stage of restoration that the body needs during rest. So this can leave us feeling exhausted the next day, no matter how long we stay in bed and regardless of the annoying hangover symptoms.

The truth is that there are very interesting scientific references in this regard. Such is the case of a 2018 study, in which it was found that alcohol can significantly affect the quality of sleep and this is regardless of the consumption of units. The researchers analyzed the sleep and alcohol habits of more than 4,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 65. The results revealed that low alcohol intake reduced sleep quality by 9.3%, moderate alcohol intake reduced sleep quality by 24%, and eAlcohol in excess reduced the quality of sleep by almost 40%.

In addition, it is important to mention that alcohol consumption is related to other sleeping problems. Not to mention the alterations in physical, emotional and mental health. Regarding sleep patterns, studies have confirmed a strong correlation between long-term alcohol abuse and chronic sleep problems. People can quickly develop a strong tolerance to alcohol, often causing them to drink more alcoholic beverages before bed to begin sleeping. In addition to causing poor quality of sleep, alcohol can influence many sleep problems.

Among the main ones are the following:

– Vivid dreams and nightmares: When alcohol remains in the system at night, we will be more susceptible to nightmares and vivid dreams. When your blood alcohol level drops, your sleep shortens and you experience more dream memory and REM sleep.

– Sleepwalking and parasomnias: Alcohol increases the risk of sleepwalking by increasing the quality of slow wave sleep that we experience when it is in the bloodstream.

– Respiratory problems: Drinking alcohol can cause irregular breathing and is formally known as sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by abnormal breathing and shortness of breath during sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by the relaxation of the throat muscles, which creates more resistance when breathing. This is why alcohol can increase the likelihood of snoring, as it relaxes the muscles of the body, which means that the tissue in the throat, mouth and nose will prevent the air from flowing smoothly, causing a vibration.

Of course, the recommendation to sleep better and avoid these sleep-related disorders is to avoid consuming it. However, on special occasions it is recommended to avoid drinking near bedtime. It is important to give the body time to process the alcohol, According to experts, it takes an average of 2 hours per unit to process alcohol.

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